Poll: Sheet Music
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View poll results: Sheet Music
It's wrong, people should buy sheet music
8 6%
It's fine if the composer is dead or something, otherwise it's wrong
26 20%
Nothing is wrong even if the composer is still alive
86 65%
Other
12 9%
Voters: 132.
Page 1 of 6
#1
I'm a music major, so I see this debate pop up on campus a lot. It's similar to downloading music, but there are differences. A lot of teachers don't like students downloading free sheet music. But I dunno, if we get our sheet music free from the library at school apparently that's okay.

Basically, do you think downloading free sheet music online (that isn't supposed to be there) is wrong? Sometimes it's not even downloading really. It's as easy as a google search.

For instance, say I want to play Bach's prelude from BWV 1006. I want Frank Koonce's arrangement as most professors recommend that in classical guitar. I could buy the book for between $30-40 dollars. Or I could go to this website and just click the link and open up this image gif.

I personally have only bought sheet music once in my life. There are plenty of classical guitar websites offering a ton of sheet music. Then there are websites like Free Scores, and most impressively Petrucci Music Library, which are saving students a ton of money. I've seen torrents for sheet music that would cost about $10,000 if I were to just go out and buy all the sheet music it came with.

Some things to consider though; A lot of people say "Well, Bach died hundreds of years ago" and a lot of his sheet music is online for free with no problems. But often, you have people rearranging or refingering his work, transcribing it for other instruments, and these people are still alive.

Secondly, there are plenty of composers alive and well today, and their sheet music is harder to find online, but definitely not impossible a lot of the time.
#2
Dunno, it's kind of grey. If someone got the book and scanned it and put it up for download that's pretty much stealing.
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#3
Quote by Horsedick.MPEG
Dunno, it's kind of grey. If someone got the book and scanned it and put it up for download that's pretty much stealing.
Usually that's the case.
#4
I quite often buy sheet music. Sometimes, it's a song I really wanna learn as close to the original as possible, so I'll buy it.
#5
Its wrong, moraly either way. Its moraly enough to make me think about it if they are alive. Doesent make me thing enough though....

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#7
Hmm... not sure how to answer that.
I do buy tab books when I can, but honestly, I'm more likely to buy it if it's written by/overseen by the artists themselves. I don't want to pay $30+ for a book that's got a ton of mistakes in it.
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#8
It seems pretty much like TABS, except more complex. I don't get the reasoning behind paying to even be able to play a piece of music.
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#9
I really don't know to be honest, but I'm leaning towards saying it's generally ok. I think recordings have much more cause to be protected as intellectual property than the notes written on paper.


Quote by GibsonMan321
It seems pretty much like TABS, except more complex. I don't get the reasoning behind paying to even be able to play a piece of music.



You're paying for the convenience of having it notated correctly and not having spend days, or even weeks figuring it out by ear.
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Last edited by StewieSwan at Apr 12, 2012,
#10
I learn a lot of piano and drum music from the GuitarPro files on UG - Is that part of this issue? It's transcribed by this community and willingly put up for free, so I would have thought that's okay, although I'm aware some bands/ labels get upset when sites like UG start rendering their £60 tab books useless
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#11
If those assbutts would stop charging anywhere from 10-25 bucks for the sheet music for a single song, I'd probably buy more sheet music.

Seriously, my Für Elise sheet music cost 12 fricken Euros!
#12
That is a good argument, and one that I hadn't considered.

Guitar tablature is available for free and for a price. Why can't sheet music be offered for free? I understand that more time, detail, sweat, blood, tears, etc. go into the production of it, but it is still music. Generally, things in the world of music are thought to be shared with the masses.

edit: I should say that, yes, I have saved/downloaded sheet music for free, as I have tabs. But I've also purchased music and tabs, so... I don't have a straight answer for you.

I personally wouldn't mind if people used a set of music that I transposed.
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Last edited by eGraham at Apr 12, 2012,
#13
If I want to learn something I'll try to transcribe it myself.

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#14
Quote by Don't Panic Ok?
If I want to learn something I'll try to transcribe it myself.

That's all good and well, but when you have a deadline and the song is complex, it's just more convenient to have it in front of you. If it's just a standard 3-4 minute rock song or whatever, yeah you could have it done in a few days max but sometimes the song's a lot more detailed. If you're being assessed on it too, I'd want it as good as I can. So I'd wanna spend more time practicing it than learning it by ear.
#15
Just so you know, your library probably has licensing and other copyright laws around it which is why it's ok for them.

At my uni they sell reading packs for modules as we'll be reading 20 different articles so it'd be a right faff buying/getting them individually. The prices don't seem to reflect purely the printing costs so I imagine it's some form of royalty system, which is probably the same with sheet music in libraries.
#17


Sheet music is one of those things. Once music gets played publicly anyone can transcribe it. Would I be breaking the law because I mentally tabbed out the chords for a song I heard in the record store, and then wrote them down to remember them?

It's one thing to stop the piracy of songs but its another thing entirely to have a problem with thought, memory, and education. It would be as if the living family members of Martin Luther King Jr had a copyright of the "I Have a Dream" speech and claimed that everyone reciting the words without having purchased the license to say them was committing piracy.
Last edited by Seref at Apr 12, 2012,
#18
I thought there was an education/scholarship fair use exception in the US. If that's the case, then surely you're just taking advantage of that legal provision.
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#19
Quote by eGraham
That is a good argument, and one that I hadn't considered.

Guitar tablature is available for free and for a price. Why can't sheet music be offered for free? I understand that more time, detail, sweat, blood, tears, etc. go into the production of it, but it is still music. Generally, things in the world of music are thought to be shared with the masses.

edit: I should say that, yes, I have saved/downloaded sheet music for free, as I have tabs. But I've also purchased music and tabs, so... I don't have a straight answer for you.

I personally wouldn't mind if people used a set of music that I transposed.
It is a little different I guess.

With tabs, take UG. On UG, people volunteer to figure out how to play music and upload their tabs, without getting paid. When Frank Koonce does the same thing with Bach and guitar (well, he's actually arranging and refingering, but it doesn't matter), he isn't doing it for free, and only releases it via his books, which cost around $30-40. Then people scan these books, and upload them as pdf files.
#20
I think the difference here is that the person you're stealing from is not usually the composer, but the person who transcribed the music.

If we're talking about recent music, they probably had to pay to obtain rights from the artist (or their record label) to publish their transcription of the music. It cost them money, time and effort to transcribe it, which is the service you pay for when you buy sheet music.

On the other hand, a lot of classical music was written long before any copyright laws were introduced, and hundereds of transcriptions have been made by various authors.

I think some of the older transcriptions no longer covered by copyright protection should be free, but I am no expert on this issue.
#21
Learning by ear isn't difficult, so 'stealing' sheet music isn't really that bad.
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#23
Quote by MadClownDisease
I don't understand how that follows?


Well if I learn the song by ear and write it down is that stealing? I still end up with the same product for free.
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#24
Quote by MadClownDisease
I don't understand how that follows?

If the work that's gone into transcribing the music isn't that valuable, stealing that work isn't stealing anything valuable.

Therefore it's not that bad.

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Quote by element4433
Yeah. people, like Lemoninfluence, are hypocrites and should have all their opinions invalidated from here on out.
#25
It's a silly notion that all sheet music should be sold. Much like UG, if you work out a song by ear and then write it down and show people, that's perfectly acceptable.
#27
Quote by Todd Hart
Well if I learn the song by ear and write it down is that stealing? I still end up with the same product for free.

Yeah but you're not, someone's doing it for you.

If learning it by ear is easy, then surely you wouldn't download sheet music anyway?

Quote by willT08
It's a silly notion that all sheet music should be sold. Much like UG, if you work out a song by ear and then write it down and show people, that's perfectly acceptable.

The difference is on UG people aren't asking to be paid.

EDIT:
Quote by Lemoninfluence
If the work that's gone into transcribing the music isn't that valuable, stealing that work isn't stealing anything valuable.

Therefore it's not that bad.


But you're simulataneously saying your work isn't valuable, and yet saying you value it because you want it.
Last edited by MadClownDisease at Apr 12, 2012,
#28
Quote by MadClownDisease
Yeah but you're not, someone's doing it for you.

If learning it by ear is easy, then surely you wouldn't download sheet music anyway?


So if someone else 'steals' the product for you it's bad, if you put the effort in yourself it's all gravy?

And maybe you can't be bothered to learn a particular song by ear. My point isn't that it's fine to do, just that it's a grey area that can't be defined easily as either morally acceptable or reprehensible
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#29
Quote by Todd Hart
So if someone else 'steals' the product for you it's bad, if you put the effort in yourself it's all gravy?

And maybe you can't be bothered to learn a particular song by ear. My point isn't that it's fine to do, just that it's a grey area that can't be defined easily as either morally acceptable or reprehensible

If someone's published it and selling it publicly I'm assuming they paid royalties/rights.

EDIT: btw I don't really much care either way, I just don't think your justifications really work.
#31
Quote by MadClownDisease
If someone's published it and selling it publicly I'm assuming they paid royalties/rights.

EDIT: btw I don't really much care either way, I just don't think your justifications really work.


But again, if the reason downloading sheet music is wrong is because it gives you access to a product you should have paid for then surely it's just as wrong to tab it yourself?
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#32
Quote by Todd Hart
But again, if the reason downloading sheet music is wrong is because it gives you access to a product you should have paid for then surely it's just as wrong to tab it yourself?

But in tabbing you're not gaining access to the same product you'd pay for if you bought an official tab book or whatever, you are creating something yourself for non-profit use.

In a way though I see what you mean if (for example) I tabbed a song perfectly and then later found that it had been released for money exactly the same (as I'd tabbed it perfectly).
But then again, that depends if it's for personal non-profit use, or for publishing (which is why they pay royalties).
#33
Quote by Todd Hart
But again, if the reason downloading sheet music is wrong is because it gives you access to a product you should have paid for then surely it's just as wrong to tab it yourself?

When you transcribe something yourself, you're putting in your own time and effort. Alternatively, you could pay someone else to do it. When you buy sheet music, you're paying for that service.
When you obtain sheet music for free that the transcriber was trying to sell, then you're taking advantage of their service without giving them anything in return.
#34
The way I think of it is that you wouldn't be getting my money anyways if I had to pay full price for the sheet music. So if I find a free link to it I may as well get it.
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#35
Quote by Maillouxlp18
The way I think of it is that you wouldn't be getting my money anyways if I had to pay full price for the sheet music. So if I find a free link to it I may as well get it.

I don't understand, why isn't anyone getting your money if you pay for it?
#36
Quote by MadClownDisease
I don't understand, why isn't anyone getting your money if you pay for it?



He's talking about the retarded notion that people wouldn't pay for it anyway, so there's no harm in downloading it.
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#38
Quote by StewieSwan
He's talking about the retarded notion that people wouldn't pay for it anyway, so there's no harm in downloading it.

Ah, that line... Oh dear.
#39
Quote by Todd Hart
Learning by ear isn't difficult, so 'stealing' sheet music isn't really that bad.

Learning by ear can be time consuming, and not all pieces that classical musicians learn are memorized.
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